Collaborative measures needed to prevent child drowning

24th June, 2021 11:17:38 PM printer

Collaborative measures needed to prevent child drowning

State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Fazilatun Nessa Indira has said that the government is trying to reduce children’s death from drowning to zero.

She also said that they are working on this critical child safety issues.

She expressed her commitment in an online “National Dialogue on Drowning Prevention” held on Tuesday in Dhaka, jointly organised by Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE), Bangladesh ECD Network, CIPRB and SoMaSHTe with support of Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI).

The chief guest of the event Fazilatun Nessa, said: “the government has already identified the child drowning deaths as a serious concern and prioritises prevention. The government and donor agencies are being done some work jointly in several districts on a pilot basis. DPP (Development Project Proposal) has been formulated in this regard to expand these activities for child protection across the country. I will continue my efforts to get the approval of DPPT project by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) as soon as possible.”

She also said, “The Ministry of Women and Child Affairs can’t implement drowning prevention activities alone. We need to collaborate with other ministries like education, health, local government and social welfare.”

Studies revealed that Bangladesh has one of the highest fatal drowning rates in the world. Every year almost 13,000 children die from drowning. Drowning accounts for 43% of deaths among children between the ages of one and four. Every day 30 Children under five die from drowning who didn’t even grow enough to learn swimming.

Kelly Larsen, the Director of Drowning Prevention Programme of Bloomberg Philanthropies, said, “We found that supervision and providing community daycare to under four years old reduced drowning death by 88%. We are happy to see that the Government of Bangladesh is supporting a nationwide drowning prevention strategy.”

The Chairperson of the programme, Rasheda K Choudhury, Executive Director of CAMPE, said, “If government engages the NGOs in their drowning prevention programmes, then it would be helpful to ensure maximum coverage with community participation. We hope the government will approve the drowning prevention strategy and DPP within a short period.”

Bangladesh has pledged to reduce the under-5 mortality rate to 25 per thousand children by 2030 to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Apart from deaths caused by diseases, many children die due to drowning in Bangladesh, which is very much preventable. It is important for Bangladesh to reduce child drowning deaths so that the country can keep a promise to reduce child mortality as targeted in the SDG. By raising awareness and taking collaborative actions, it is possible to save many lives from drowning.

Dr Aminur Rahman, Deputy Executive Director, Center for Injury Prevention and Research Bangladesh (CIPRB), said: “We have seen that poverty, unawareness, and lack of institutional initiatives are the main causes for child drowning death. Drowning death occurs within 20 meters from home. Most incidents of child drowning occur in ditches and ponds in rural areas. Lack of supervision is a key risk factor for child drowning. 60% accident occurs between 9 am to 1 pm when parents are busy with family responsibility. Most incidents of child drowning occur in ditches and ponds in rural areas.”

The programme recommended that the government develop a national strategy to prevent child drowning, learning from proven interventions targeting those most prone to risk. Committed, long-term investment based on learning from the proven intervention such as community-based childcare centers are essential. The government should also promote best practices for childcare centers, focusing on creative incentives for maintaining quality and effective care. These childcare centers will also help children develop their physical, intellectual and social capacities besides saving from unintentional injuries.

Source: Press Release